YOUNGSTOWN - Youngstown has always been rich in boxing history and seeps with the sort of tradition you'll find in working class towns. Rust belt boxers are hard-nosed, hard-working fighters who use mistakes of the past to their advantage in the ring.
Jake "The Bull" Giurieco (13-0-1, 3KO) is one of those fighters.
Like Harry Arroyo, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, and Kelly Pavlik before him, Giurieco sports a work ethic often unmatched.
His beginnings at Burnside Boxing after a troubled childhood led him to a promising amateur career and eventually he turned pro.
In the time since he made his pro debut on the undercard of a Pavlik fight at the Covelli Center, two big things have changed with Giurieco.
He's a man of faith.
And Youngstown has an ever-growing faith in Giurieco.
"The following I have, I just believe it's a thing from God," the lightweight contender said. "He blessed me with great fans. The more fights I win, if I stay focused and determined, the fans just keep showing up. If I can just keep tucking these wins under my belt, I believe I can keep building a bigger and bigger fan base."
Giurieco has stayed close to home in recent fights taking part in a lot of local cards. He knows to continue his climb up the ranks he'll have to start fighting in more hostile territory. But for his bout tonight at St. Lucy's in Campbell, his most important task is to stay focused, because as with every fighter, looking ahead really isn't an option.
Giurieco will face New Jersey's Bryne Green (7-4-1, 3KO) for an Ohio state title belt. Green is coming off of two wins and a draw, and despite his four defeats, he's never been knocked out.
"He seems like a very tough kid," Giurieco said. "He throws great body shots, has a fast right hand, a quick jab. He's pretty durable and has good conditioning. It's gonna be a real tough fight. He's coming to try and with the belt just like I am."
Success has afforded Giurieco the ability to work solely on boxing. As with his past few fights he's again training in California with former bantamweight contender Frankie Duarte.
"Mainly for this camp, he just wants me to focus on getting more power into my shots and landing my punches better," Giurieco said. "We want to get more power in the left hand."
Giurieco's faith is another key component of his success.
"It's opened my eyes," he said. "There were so many changes I needed to focus on. Having faith has just made my boxing that much better. So I want to go at it 100 percent to honor God for what he's blessed me with. My faith is why I'm where I'm at right now. Before I was working and it was a struggle to get into the gym all the time. Now, I've got time on my hands. I'm sitting in California and focusing 100 percent all the time on the things I'm trying to learn. It's just a blessing all around."
Giurieco will look to keep up his success on November Fury, Saturday Nov. 19 at St. Lucy's Assumption Center in Campbell. Doors open at 6 p.m., fights begin at 7.
For tickets call Joe Corvino at 330-692-0692 or Keith Burnside at 330-720-8369.